Where does your Scotch come from? The British government is taking steps be make sure the answer is Scotland and to give consumers more assurance that products labeled as "Islay" or "Speyside" are actually from those appellations.
The United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working on tighter definitions on Scotch whisky classifications, including requiring that all aging be completed in Scotland. The new rules would require all labels to list a Scotch as one of five types of product: Single Malt Scotch whisky, Single Grain Scotch whisky, Blended Scotch whisky, Blended Malt Scotch whisky and Blended Grain Scotch whisky.
The U.K. is acting as the European Union is offering greater protection to Scotch makers against distillers from outside of the country labeling products as "Scotch" or calling a whisky made elsewhere as a "Highland Malt." The rules under review would also place requirements that brands that use Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Campbeltown or Islay on the label actually come from spirits that are 100 percent from those regions.
The worldwide demand for Scotch has caused price increases for top brands and is leading to both counterfeiting and efforts by some distillers to bulk ship product to other locations for aging and packaging. Scotch is a major contributor to the Scottish economy in terms of exports and tourism spending. The U.K. government's actions are meant to protect the brand equity that Scotch has built in the last several decades.